Have you heard about the incredible health benefits of L-glutamine?
First used in powder form by people in the fitness industry who were looking to preserve muscle tissue, L-glutamine is an amino acid that is a building block of protein.
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the bloodstream and it makes up 30-35 percent of the amino acid nitrogen in your blood. It’s actually known as a conditionally essential amino acid because your body uses it in large amounts.
The most common uses of glutamine powder were to meet the following goals: to lose weight fast, burn fat and build muscle. And while that remains the case, science is now showing that L-glutamine benefits are abundant – and that this amino acid is especially helpful in treating leaky gut and improving your overall health.
L-Glutamine At a Glance
- An essential amino acid needed by your body in large amounts
- Promotes digestive and brain health, muscle growth, athletic performance, and more
- Fights cancer and high blood sugar
- Found in both animal proteins and plant proteins
- Available in supplement form (see below for dosage instructions)
10 Proven L-Glutamine Benefits
New research is now showing that L-glutamine benefits the body in the following ways:
- Improves gastrointestinal health because it is a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair (1)
- Helps heal ulcers and leaky gut by acting as a Band-Aid for protection from further damage (2)
- Is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with memory, focus and concentration (3)
- Improves IBS and diarrhea by balancing mucus production, which results in healthy bowel movements (4)
- Promotes muscle growth and decreases muscle wasting (5)
- Improves athletic performance and recovery from endurance exercise (6)
- Improves metabolism and cellular detoxification (7)
- Curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol (8)
- Fights cancer (9)
- Improves diabetes and blood sugar (10)
Let’s look at a few of these incredible L-glutamine benefits more closely….
L-Glutamine Heals Leaky Gut and Improves Immunity
There are millions of people struggling with a condition called leaky gut syndrome, which is essentially the main cause of autoimmune disease today. Leaky gut can cause thyroid issues like Hashimoto’s disease, and also contributes to arthritis, skin issues like psoriasis and other serious health issues.
Because glutamine is the major fuel source for cells of the small intestine, it has been shown to heal leaky gut in clinical studies. A study published in the medical journal Lancet examined 20 hospital patients and found that supplementing with L-glutamine decreased intestinal permeability. And an animal study published in the British Journal of Surgery found that L-glutamine benefits ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
If you’re unsure if you suffer from leaky gut, take my leaky gut test. If, indeed, you appear to have leaky gut, L-glutamine is the number one amino acid you need to help heal and repair it. In fact, L-glutamie is one of my top three most recommended supplements overall for treating leaky gut and/or building a lean body.
Bottom line? L-glutamine benefits your health if you have any type of digestive issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, leaky gut or any of the issues associated with leaky gut (like joint pain, rosacea or any type of autoimmune response). And you need this amino acid in your diet on a regular basis.
So for example, if you have Hashimoto’s or an underactive thyroid, L-glutamine should be a part of your hypothyroidism diet. If you suffer from IBS symptoms like constant diarrhea or ulcerations, L-glutamine needs to be part of your IBS diet.
It’s worth noting that the man famous for discovering the Krebs cycle in the body (also known as the “citric acid cycle”) was the first person to recommend taking L-glutamine for gut-related issues. That’s because he found that it helped improve a healthy gut-related immune response. And additional research supports this finding.
A medical study published in 2001 found that L-glutamine benefits the body by regulating IgA immune response. IgA is an antibody that attacks viruses and bad bacteria. (It’s also associated with food sensitivities and allergies.)
Another study published in the journal of Clinical Immunology found that L-glutamine normalizes the effects of the TH2 immune response that stimulates inflammatory cytokines. (11)
The effects of L-glutamine in these studies prove that L-glutamine reduces intestinal inflammation and can help people recover from food sensitivities.
L-Glutamine Improves Energy and Athleticism
One of L-glutamine’s main roles in the body is to support detoxification by cleansing the body from high levels of ammonia. It acts as a buffer and converts excess ammonia into other amino acids, amino sugars and urea. (12)
Doing approximately one hour of exercise can cause a 40 percent reduction of glutamine in the body. It can also cause suppressed immune function. This has a negative impact on your resistance training and may lead to overtraining syndrome. (13)
L-glutamine benefits long distance athletes as well by boosting the immune system (T-helper cells). Animal studies have indicated that this increase in T-helper cells may reduce the ‘stresses’ associated with overtraining syndrome. (14)
L-Glutamine Benefits Bodybuilding
Whether your goal is to increase athletic performance, boost metabolism, improve recovery or even build muscle, research shows that L-glutamine is a must-have supplement.
During an intense workout, your body becomes stressed and your muscles and tendons require more glutamine than the amount supplied by a normal diet.
So, after an intense workout the levels of cellular glutamine can drop by 50 percent and plasma levels by 30 percent! This muscle-wasting state is a gateway for the body to use your muscle for energy rather than carbohydrates. But glutamine can prevent this from happening. (15)
Supplementing with L-glutamine allows your muscles to fight and push a bit further, which boosts your strength and helps repair your skeletal muscles.
A study found that L-glutamine supplementation makes it possible to recover quicker from intense weight training sessions because it improves muscle hydration. (16) This aids the muscle recovery process and reduces recovery time for wounds and burns. (17)
Replenishing glutamine levels after an intense session could take up to five days, so it is important to take it on a regular basis if you are doing intense exercise.
L-Glutamine Burns Fat and Boosts Metabolism
A study reported that glutamine also helps with human growth hormone secretion (HGH). This aids with fat metabolism and supports new muscle growth.
Research has indicated that HGH levels are up by nearly 400 percent after supplementing with L-glutamine. This hormonal response leads to an increase in resting metabolic rate and improves the after-burn effect or EPOC post exercise. This after-burn effect is essential for burning fat, weight loss and building lean muscle mass. (18)
L-glutamine also burns fat and builds lean muscle mass by helping suppress insulin levels and stabilize blood glucose. This enables the body to use up less muscle mass to maintain blood sugar and insulin sensitivity in the cells. For this reason, L-glutamine benefits diabetics and those with sugar and carb cravings as well. (19)
Foods with L-Glutamine Benefits
With 70 million Americans now suffering from digestive diseases, it’s apparent that our diets are severely lacking certain nutrients that support the digestive tract. While L-glutamine is synthesized by the body from glutamic acid or glutamate, sometimes the body is unable to produce enough. And when this is the case, your body needs to get it directly from your diet.
L-glutamine is synthesized by the body from glutamic acid or glutamate. If the body is unable to produce enough it needs to get it directly from your diet.
L-glutamine can be found in animal proteins such as meats and dairy, along with plant-based protein sources such as beans, raw spinach, parsley and red cabbage. It’s worth noting, though, that animal proteins are not as easily digestible as plant proteins.
The foods with the most L-glutamine benefits include:
1. Bone Broth
2. Grass-fed Beef
4. Chinese Cabbage
5. Cottage Cheese
7. Broccoli Raab
8. Wild Caught Fish (Cod, Tuna and Salmon)
I recommend consuming at least three servings of these L-glutamine-rich foods daily.
L-Glutamine Supplements and Dosage
It’s important to know that the majority of people don’t get enough L-glutamine from their food alone. That’s why supplementing your diet with L-glutamine is an excellent way to boost your immune system and improve your ability to fight infection and diseases.
Amazingly, around 60% of your skeletal muscle is made up of glutamine – and supplementing this amino acid can aid protein synthesis and help naturally balance your pH levels.
Types of L-Glutamine
There are two forms of L-glutamine. You can get regular L-glutamine in what’s called its free form, and it should be taken with food ideally for proper absorption by the body. The other type of L-glutamine is called Trans-Alanyl or Alanyl-L-Glutamine — it’s an amino acid attached to another amino acid, which basically means you’re going to digest it much better. Unlike free-form glutamine powder, you can take it on an empty stomach.
But both forms of glutamine powder are best taken right after or right before workouts — with your small meals right before or after workouts for it to support your metabolism and weight loss as well as for muscle building, recovery and preservation.
How Much to Use
Typically, the best dosage is between 2 to 5 grams twice daily, and up to 10 grams daily for serious power athletes. Although the effects of excess glutamine rarely cause problems, if you are taking L-glutamine long-term, it’s a good idea to also supplement with B vitamins. This especially applies to vitamin B12, which controls glutamine buildup in the body.
Final Thoughts on L-Glutamine Benefits
Whether you’re looking to increase your athletic performance, build muscle or improve a health condition such as leaky gut or diabetes, L-glutamine should be a part of your daily diet. Make it your go-to supplement, and it likely won’t be long until you start to feel the difference.